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It is Time to Remember Bill Clinton’s Finest Hour

I remember it like it was yesterday. April 19, 1995. The horrible pictures of the rubble of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the faces and the names of dead federal employees and their children being repeated again and again.

Then President Bill Clinton came on and stared directly into the camera. He said, in part, “We will find the people who did this. We will bring them to justice. And we will seek the death penalty.” He meant it, too.

A cold shiver went up my spine. I felt the perpetrators had to be watching that, and seeing the President of the United States basically saying “You will be executed” had to be somewhat unnerving.

At the time, I wasn’t doing too well. I had a low-paying job as an armed security guard at a local hospital with crappy hours. Some of my coworkers had, shall we say, extremist rightwing views, and had repeatedly taken the side of the wackjob at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidians in Waco. Initially, some of them even defended the Oklahoma City bombers as being patriots defending themselves against the big, bad ol’ fed’ril gubmint.

Over the next few months, their tone changed from defiance to fear. to silence. There were whispered rumors that leaders of the Aryan Nations and the militia movements in Idaho and Montana had disappeared. Well-armed troops or agents with night vision equipment were showing up in the middle of the night and warning the white separatists to either shut up voluntarily or face the consequences. Those that didn’t shut up just, well, disappeared.

I told them that I hoped it was all true. Maybe that’s why they stopped talking about it to me. Or maybe they were really afraid of what might happen to them. I don’t know. I also don’t know if the rumors were true. I do know that the rhetoric coming from Limbaugh, Fox News, and the like definitely seemed to moderate for awhile, though.

I still hope the rumors were true. And I hope that President Obama, corporatist that he is, inflicts the same fear on the messengers of hate and violence that Bill Clinton did almost 16 years ago.

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Ohio Barbarian

Ohio Barbarian